Friday, October 09, 2009

This guy has balls

I spotted this LTE in the CV written by an attorney that recently started practicing in Luzerne County. Under the previous regime of Conahan and Ciavarella he would never win another case in this county again. We will see if things change.

Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. claims he saw nothing, heard nothing and knew nothing about the injustice occurring in the courts of Luzerne County. I don't believe him. I do believe that he would do anything to save his $157,000 a year job, as would his fellow judge, Tom Burke.
Terrorists at Guantanimo Bay had more rights than children did in Luzerne County. How would you feel if it were your child who was lied to, tricked and unjustly sent to kiddie concentration camp?

Olszewski and Burke claim they did nothing wrong. "It wasn't me, It was them. I didn't know. How could I know?" Just men had a duty to discover the truth. Olszewski said the hearings took place a half a mile away in another building. How could he hear? How did an advocacy group over 100 miles away in Philadelphia hear enough to file lawsuits on behalf of more than 500 children? How did the FBI know enough about it to raid juvenile probation? Olszewski says if he knew he would have told the FBI. If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, oh what a party we'd have.

I was a judicial law clerk in Schuylkill County. In my experience, what went on in the courthouse and in many of the cases was common knowledge among the judges, staff members and law clerks. Even then, almost 10 years ago, stories were coming out of Luzerne County from lawyers and litigants alike, that the judges were crooked, that the cases were fixed. It was not until I started practicing in Luzerne County that I realized that most of the gossip was true.
Peter Paul Olszewski and Thomas Burke have failed us
. They have failed to protect us. They have failed to protect our children.

Now it is election time and they want you to know them as "Peter Paul" and "Tom." After they win retention they're back to being "Your Honor," and we the people are back to being nobodies. In this lawyer's opinion, Judge Olszewski and Judge Burke do not deserve to be retained as judges.
Attorney Joseph A. Woitko
Beaver Meadows

The question I keep asking is how does everybody know what was going on in Lokuta's courtroom but nobody knew what was going on in Ciavarella's? Zen want's to know why the District Attornerys David Lupas (now Judge) and Jackie Musto Carrol and their staffs did not notice a gross disparity between the offense and the punishment that was meted out?

And how about the Probation Department and the Public Defenders?

PPO-2 answered my question a week ago and the TL has Tom Burke's defense today.

"I can tell you categorically I did not have a single incident where a lawyer came to me and said, ‘By the way, there’s something you should look out for because there may be abuses,’ ” Burke said. “We can look back now and say if there were more checks and balances, maybe these abuses would have been discovered sooner.”


Anonymous said...

Nice post. And yeah, at least to the extent that I know Woitko, he's a very brave, and very principled fellow.

Anonymous said...

Got to give him credit

Anonymous said...

I ran into Peter Paul when he was just an attorney. At that time he impressed me as an arrogant judgmental person even when his brother was being arrested in Yosemite National Park.
Now he wants the taxpayers of Luzerne County to retain him for another 10 years after we have already paid him $1.5 million. I have to say "no". He wasn't worth it!!!! Some of his court decisions have been bad news.
Besides, what kind of example was he? He went on a free golf vacation to Florida with a bimbo while he was still married. He didn't properly report this gift on his annual disclosure statements AND he didn't fully disclose the details to us. Here's an idea - let's ask his ex-wife if we should vote to retain him.

Big Dan said...

To say the very least, it gives the impression of impropriety. And we don't need that any more around here.

Anonymous said...

What is it that people don't understand about the Lokuta Court Room? IT WAS HER STAFF THAT BLEW THE WHISTLE! Looks like nothing but knot heads post those stupid statments. Along with her former staff filing complaints, attorneys who had cases before her riled charges. To compare her court room with any other judge is off the wall ..... lokuta was off the wall and it was no secret. How about her ordering people off the elecvator because a "judge was on board". Do you think any other judge would acst like that? She was a nut and she is gone so get over it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:15 Looks like you don't use your spell check but you make a good point.

Anonymous said...

New York Times Editorial, December 12, 2001

For all you Bible Thumping Protestant "Christian Soldiers" and Opus Dei-Irish/Italia Mafia Catholics...(In response to Governor Rendell's appointment of a BLUE RIBBON PANEL to "investigate" what went wrong in Luzerne County...ha ha ha and which Republican Supreme Court Justice--who tried to bury the matter--peaks out being the coattail of our Jewish Democratic Governor, whose wife is a federal judge, and exclaims "I was astounded!"?

Substitute “Pennsylvania” for “New York,” and you have essentially the same set of problems and 10 years later, we see that Pennsylvania is STILL LAGGING 8 years behind New York in reforming the attorney-judicial system.

"Betraying the Helpless"
A much-awaited report issued last week by New York's chief judge, Judith Kaye, documents the degree to which unchecked patronage practices have corrupted the state's system for safeguarding the finances of the elderly and infirm. Rather than a program to protect the helpless, the report depicts a jobs program for politically connected lawyers who drain the estates of the vulnerable clients they are supposed to defend.

For those with the right connections, this has been a major cash cow. Each year judges appoint more than 1,000 fiduciaries, most of them lawyers, to serve as guardians, or receivers, or to represent the interests of children involved in litigation.

Much as outside observers have long suspected, the lion's share of the jobs flow to a small cadre of politically plugged-in lawyers and relatives and pals of judges -- flouting existing rules that bar nepotism and limit lawyers to one $5,000 assignment per year. One alarming result of the rampant favoritism is that lawyers have felt emboldened to charge outrageous fees for minor legal work and mundane tasks not requiring a lawyer, knowing that friendly judges could be counted upon to rubber-stamp their bloated bills. One guardian in Queens charged the estate of an elderly client $850 for visiting her nursing home to help her celebrate her birthday. That was a bargain compared with the ludicrous $1,275 this guardian charged for a stroll with the client that included a stop for ice cream.

Disappointingly, the report shies from naming the judges and lawyers involved in most of these unethical escapades. The state does have a misguided law mandating the secrecy of disciplinary proceedings. But nothing in it prevents Judge Kaye from releasing information contained in public files and culled at public expense. Her baffling decision not to attach names to the fee data smacks of the same sort of protectionism that invited the abuses in the first place.

To combat those abuses, Judge Kaye plans to pursue a package of administrative reforms recommended by a special blue-ribbon panel. One would bar state and county political leaders, who exercise major influence over the selection of judges, from getting fiduciary appointments. But judges will still have considerable latitude to decide who gets these coveted jobs -- an invitation for mischief so long as New York retains its cockeyed system of phony judicial elections controlled by the reigning local political clubhouse. A better bet would be to require that appointments be made on a rotation basis off court-assembled lists of qualified lawyers.

Anonymous said...

4:56 ...... great research. Thanks. By the way, the only problem with favorites getting jobs is that often, people are not on the favorits list so they get left out. When they are on the list, not a peep is heard from them. Human nature!